January 2022 – First Edition of Writer’s Tips

Welcome to my January Writer’s Tips. In this month’s edition of posts I hand picked from my reading trails, I’ve found some informative articles for writers from authors, Natalie Ducey – how to add weblinks on #Instagram, publishing predictions for 2022 by agent Laurie McLean at the blog of Anne R. Allen, ideas for promoting sequels on #Bookbub, book promotion blunders by Kathy Steinemann, and, how to use dashes in fiction by Louise Harnby.

Natalie Ducey has a helpful tutorial on how to add weblinks on #Instagram

Anne R. Allen, guest writer, agent Laurie McLean shares her predictions for the publishing world 2022

12 Clever ideas for promoting sequels on Bookbub

Fiction editor and proofreader, Louise Harnby shares, how to use dashes in fiction for both U.S. and U.K.

https://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/blog/how-to-use-dashes-in-fiction-dashes-uk-and-us-style

Ten Book Promotion blunders authors make by Kathy Steinemann

https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/promotion/#comment-10817

©DGKaye2022

Writer’s Tips – December Edition – #Twitter Pinned Tweets, #Editing, Kindlepreneur, #Canva

Welcome to my December edition of Writer’s Tips. In this last edition for 2021, I’m sharing some great information and tools to help with creating social media posts, QR codes for books, Twitter, and editing tips.

Hugh Roberts demonstrates why every blogger should be using the ‘pinned tweet’ option on Twitter, also, how to draft a blog post

Source: Pinned Tweets: Why Every Blogger Should Have One To Help Drive Traffic To Their Blog – Hugh’s Views & News  

Stevie Turner alerted me to this great share from the Kindlepreneur – Create a QR code for your books!

https://kindlepreneur.com/qr-code-generator-for-authors/

Great detailed post on revisions and editing our books before they go to the editor by Vivian Zabel, guest writing at Nowastedink with Wendy Van Camp

Natalie Ducie is back with a new tutorial – How to add text into our Canva images

From the Bookdesigner – How to create an Index for your book and why you need to

©DGKaye2021

Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Deborah Jay and her Hot #NewRelease – The Prince’s Heir

Welcome to my last Q & A post for 2021. I know I have been sparse this year with Q & A features due to my world turning upside down, but  I couldn’t end off the year without sharing the news here from one of my oldest blogging friends, Deborah Jay, who has just released Book 4 in her 5 Kingdoms series – The Prince’s Heir.

About Deborah Jay:

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training, and judging, competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE

PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, released December 14th 2021.

Blurb:

Read the gripping conclusion to The Five Kingdoms series…

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.

Excerpt from Prince’s Heir

“Risada,” said Marten in a tone that sent ice crawling down her spine. “There’s something we didn’t tell you last year. We thought it would never be an issue once we’d destroyed Charin’s Cult.”

The king paused, pursing his lips. Blood pounded through Risada’s head, filling the silence. She felt nauseous. What had they kept from her, and why?

Marten drew a deep breath, then continued. “You know they wanted our child. What you don’t know is that things came to a head when you returned with Halson. Charin wanted a child of the royal bloodline, and it seems Hal’s would have satisfied Him as much as mine.”

Risada gripped the back of a nearby chair, clinging to that spot of reality in a world turned hazy.

Halson! Charin wanted her son!

A fierce rush of protectiveness blasted through her. She would die before she allowed that to happen. Staring into Marten’s eyes, she saw the same intent reflected there. Of course, he and Betha had been willing to sacrifice themselves before, and now he feared Betha might be forced to make that call again.

“We won’t let it come to that; I promise.” She took one of his hands and squeezed it, but he shrugged and disengaged his grip.

“Sadly, that’s not something you can promise. Not where Charin’s involved. I’ve faced Him, remember? I was lucky to survive, and I don’t give much for my chances if it comes to a rerun.”

“Marten.” Risada employed the same tone she used when Halson was being difficult. “You’re not alone in this. You will never be alone to deal with such an attack again; that I can promise.

Let’s get to know more about Deb’s writing and dressage life in our Q & A session:

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

Nine so far, plus novellas and short stories. Two non-fiction books on horse training (my day job), one SF (not published), five epic fantasy (one not published) and one urban fantasy. The unpublished books were where I cut my writer’s teeth, learning about plot, pace, and technique. One day I’d love to revisit them, but with so many other projects on the go, who knows if I’ll find the time?

My favorite book will always be the last one I finished. If you are anything like me, as we write more books our style changes, develops and (hopefully) improves. I am still proud as punch of my first published novel – THE PRINCE’S MAN – which in the early days before self-publishing, netted me two agents and a slew of positive feedback from the Big Six (as they were in those days) publishers, although no contract. Now, I’m really happy it didn’t sell – I would never have been allowed to write the sequels the way they’ve turned out, and I wouldn’t have control of my own career.

D.G. – You’ve certainly come a long way my busy friend. And yes, you are spot on, the more books we write, of course, our styles change as we learn new things. How many of us would like to go back and rewrite all our published books? Lol 🙂

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

As a hybrid author – both traditionally and indie published – I can definitely say the latter is far and away my preferred route. Not only do I get to write what I want, when I want, I also earn a markedly higher percentage of the income from my indie published books (70% from Amazon, 60% from some other platforms, paid each month) than I do from my trad published books (10% from my publisher, paid annually).

Sure, traditional publishers can get you into bricks-and-mortar stores, but that’s far less important since Covid struck, closing so many, or forcing them to sell online. Publishers also have extremely limited funds available for marketing, and contracted authors are expected to do most of the grunt work themselves – marketing, networking, selling in person, etc. – so I’d rather put my efforts into my indie books for a higher return.

D.G. – My sentiments exactly Deb. And I’ve heard same thoughts from a few different authors who left trad to take control of their own books. 🙂

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

I don’t know about a passion, I just always assumed I would write. It seemed the natural progression – read other people’s stuff, then write your own.

As a child, comics took my interest, and my earlier attempts at writing were accompanied by awful illustrations (I’m no artist). When my mother died a couple of years ago, in amongst her papers (she was also a writer) I found what must be my earliest attempt, aged about 6 – ‘The travels of Sammy Snail – Scotland here I come’. Weirdly prophetic, as at that time I had never been to Scotland, nor had any of my family, and yet that’s precisely where I now live.

After that, came ‘The Adventures of Galloper’, another illustrated comic book, and then ‘Samantha the Adventurous Poodle’, a novel which failed at chapter 3 because it had no plot!

D.G. – What a gorgeous find! I know you have tons on your plate and agenda, but wouldn’t it be fun if you revised and published her work in a children’s book someday, authored by both of you? Food for thought. 🙂

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

While this week’s release brings to a conclusion the main story of one set of characters, I still have plenty of other tales to tell about them. One of the best aspects of self-publishing is the option to publish books of any size. I already wrote one short story that fits in between books #1 & #2, with another underway. I plan to write a set of them, with the ultimate goal of gathering them into a book of their own.

I have also plotted out and started a novella, telling the back story of a minor character who grew to become a major force in books #3 & 4. In addition, years ago, I wrote the novel that takes place before this set, so I plan on going back and rewriting that to a publishable standard too.

Beyond that, I have a rough outline for the next sequence of books, featuring the next generation. I’ve set up a lot of worldbuilding ready for them to walk right into, so, although the over-arching plot appears to end in book #4, it has a lot further to go – I’m thinking maybe 10 books in all?

Next up is putting together a boxset of books #1 – #4, and start editing for audiobook production – something I still have to dip my toe in. I also have one novel and a short story published in an urban fantasy series, with 6 chapters of the next book already done and just waiting for me to pick it up again.

Finally (as if that lot wasn’t enough!), I am currently writing a commissioned non-fiction book on horse training to go with the two already published, and sketching out two new in-person presentations now we are allowed to do such things again.

I’m certainly never short of stuff to do!

D.G. – You’re a machine girl! I hate to add to your plate, but I was hoping you would come out with a sequel to Desprite Measures with your Cassie character. 🙂

Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?

Neither!

I’m really fortunate to have worked with an awesome writer’s group for many years – thirty, to be precise! Members have come and gone, but the core has remained. New members have to put in an audition piece, so we can assess the standard of their writing. If we feel they aren’t ready to join us yet we point them towards where they can find more basic help to develop.

The group consists of (almost) exclusively published authors – some short fiction writers, some novelists. We do include a uni student, reading creative writing (what else?), but fundamentally we all write professional pieces that sell. We used to meet in person once a month, now we do it on Zoom, which means a couple of former members who moved away have rejoined.

One of the best aspects is that between us we cover a wide range of professions and interests, such as a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a travel writer, and a stand-up comic! Between the lot of us, we’re pretty darned good at the whole gamut of editing. And knowing we will all be on the receiving end at some point, we’ve become well practiced at constructive critiquing – the best sort of group.

D.G. – Sounds like a great plan and a wonderful and eclectic bunch of writers! 🙂

What was the inspiration behind the series you’ve just completed?

I was always frustrated that the super-spy, James Bond, was never allowed (until now!) to develop as a character. Enter my leading man, Rustam Chalice – a shallow, womanizing, spy. During THE PRINCE’S MAN, alongside the action and politics, everything he thought he knew is challenged and proven to be false, bringing about profound changes to his life, which continues to develop through the entire series.

I chose a fantasy setting partly because of my love for Lord of the Rings, but also because of the incredible scope available to my imagination. I can do whatever I want with the world (provided it’s consistent and makes sense), which allows me to put my characters through a crucible unlike anything they would experience in a real-world setting.

Out of these two things came tagline for the series: Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.

D.G. – Brilliant concept! 🙂

It was a pleasure having you over today Deb. I wish you much success with your new release, and no doubts the Prince’s Man fans for this series are anxiously awaiting this new release.

Connect with Deborah:

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story: http://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

©DGKaye2021

Writer’s Tips October – #Memoir Writing, #Canva, #Scamalert, Createspace, Google, Blogging, and Free Promotion Offer

Welcome to October edition of Writer’s Tips. In today’s post I’m sharing a new author scam alert, Seven S’s of writing Memoir, problems for authors who didn’t move their books themselves to Amazon, a tutorial on how to add video to Canva, marketing with Google, reusable block making on the Gutenberg editor, and two invitations where you can promote your books.

 

 

First one is a brand new author Scam Alert. Anne R. Allen keeps us abreast the latest scams and book steals. Today she shares the danger of Facebook, and advice on choosing an Editor who won’t scam.

Warning to Writers: You Won’t See This New Publishing Scam Coming

 

 

Roz Morris from Nail Your Novel with The 7 S’s of Writing Memoir

http://www.nailyournovel.com/

 

Deborah Jay with an eye-opener for authors who didn’t move their books themselves from Createspace to Amazon

https://deborahjayauthor.com/2021/09/13/createspace-to-kdp-how-did-you-transfer-your-paperbacks/comment-page-1/#comment-43568

 

Natalie Ducey Smith has a new tutorial for us on How to Add Custom Video to Canva

https://natalieducey.com/2021/09/09/how-to-add-a-custom-audio-file-to-designs-in-canva/

 

 

Attention authors looking for FREE promotion – the great promoter, Sally Cronin is offering a new series at the Smorgasbord – Lucky Dip – check it out and get featured at the Smorgasbord

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/09/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-october-2021-lucky-dip-and-do-you-trust-me/comment-page-1/#comment-526477

 

 

Tech teacher and author Jacqui Murray shares how to outline and market your stories using Google

https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/authortoolboxbloghop-11/#comment-272613

 

Blogging guru and author, Hugh Roberts is showing us how to make a resuseable block in the Gutenberg editor

https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2021/09/13/how-to-create-and-use-a-reusable-block-for-your-book-on-wordpress/comment-page-1/?unapproved=123774&moderation-hash=8402a8fb0c350bb24986ed2a16fad2b6#comment-123774

 

Ingram Spark tells us why we should also publish with them separately, using publishdrive

https://publishdrive.com/ingram-sell-online-print-on-demand-books-2.html

 

Author Stevie Turner also generously offers authors and bloggers Free promotion on her blog on Fridays – share a post or share a book excerpt – check it out

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2021/09/17/friday-spotlight-17th-september/

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Writer’s Tips – Publishing Scams, Google Caveat, Writing the Blurb, #Scammers, Author Marketing

Welcome to September edition of Writer’s Tips. In this edition it’s chock full of goodies for authors. Author Marketing and a new series open for writers from Sally Cronin. Anne R. Allen keeps us up to date on scams against authors. Ruth Harris on writing the danged blurb. How to structure memoir using storyboard. Harmony Kent on writing in 2nd person, and a warning to check your Google extensions so you aren’t auto-opted in to their exploitive policy.

 

 

Sally Cronin with her Podcast on Marketing for Authors – Using social Media

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/08/26/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-podcasts-book-marketing-and-public-relations-twitter-and-linkedin-cons-of-marketing-online-by-sally-cronin/

 

 

Sally Cronin has opened a new author series #nonfiction – Share your story about someone who has influenced your life

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/08/29/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-new-series-nonfiction-guest-posts-who-has-influenced-you-the-most-in-your-life/

 

 

Anne R. Allen with an in-depth listing of Scams against Authors

Publishing Scammers are Proliferating like Tribbles: How to Stay Safe

 

 

Also from Anne R. Allen’s blog featuring Ruth Harris – Writing the danged Blurb

Some Unconventional Advice About How to Write the D*mn Blurb

 

 

Informative article on how Google’s Chrome extensions sneak us in without permissions

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2021/08/28/stop-using-google-chrome-on-windows-10-android-and-apple-iphones-ipads-and-macs/?sh=7c1ed6d84a97

 

 

Harmony Kent with her segment at the Story Empire with Part 2 in her Point of View series – Writing in Second Person

https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2021/08/27/how-to-write-point-of-view-part-3-second-person/comment-page-1/#comment-150284

 

 

Learn to successfully structure your memoir, novel, or nonfiction book using a simple storyboard system

http://howtoplanwriteanddevelopabook.blogspot.com/2021/07/memoirs-primary-argument-making-sure.html

 

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

Writer’s Tips – #Canva Animation, #BookBub, KDP Tools, Famous Writer Advice, Slash Your #Wordcount

Welcome to the July issue of Writer’s Tips. In this edition we have tips on animation text for Canva, Lessons for Authors, How to Slash your Wordcount, Why some writers quit writing, and the new KDP tool for authors, and tips for promoting on BookBub.

 

Natalie Ducey is back with another fab tutorial on how to animate text using Canva

https://natalieducey.com/2021/06/29/how-to-create-animated-typewriter-text-in-canva-for-free/

 

How to be an Everyday Star Writer, and advice from famous writers, by Ruth Harris at the blog of Anne R. Allen

How to be an Everyday Star: Lessons From 4 Famous Authors

 

Fantasy author Diana Peach shares her experience with promoting her books on BookBub

https://mythsofthemirror.com/2021/07/14/my-bookbub-experience-and-a-few-tips/comment-page-1/#comment-87956

 

Kathy Steinemann with Part 7 of her Slash Your Word Count series

https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/word-count-7/#comment-9653

 

Jacqui Murray at Worddreams with some valid examples of writing that may deter readers to continue reading

https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2021/07/07/iwsg-july-4/

 

Just a couple days ago (around July 12 – July 14, 2021), KDP added a new marketing tool to the KDP interface. It’s called A+ Content. It’s NOW available to KDP users. You can access the feature from a couple different places from within your KDP dashboard

KDP Has Added A New Marketing Tool, It’s Called A+ Content!

 

Here is the direct page to Amazon’s KDP new author tool

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G8EP5W6H9CY7T8GS#marketplaces

 

I hope you enjoyed and found something useful from this edition of Writer’s Tips.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

It’s Sunday, A Lovely Surprise Feature and Opportunity for Reviewers

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have no new review ready for my usual Sunday Book Review, but I came across a review feature for one of my own books that made my day.

 

Timothy Pike runs a blog for writers – Whatinspiresyourwriting.wordpress.com. He also runs a group for writers – ChapterBuzz. Tim has a great project on the go where he has created a Discovery List for readers. The idea of this list, Tim intends to publish once it grows to 100 entries, introducing readers to quality books with great reviews that readers may have missed in a sea of books on Amazon.

The great part about adding a review to the list for a book you enjoyed and gave 4 or 5 stars for is, you don’t have to be an author to add a review for a great book you enjoyed, but authors are welcomed to share their own books with a review that shines for their books too! Read below what Tim says about this project:

 

Every day I’m discovering novels that are truly great.

But these aren’t mainstream hits, these are self-published books that …

… to the world’s detriment …

… ended up buried under millions of other books in the huge “Amazon book pile.”

These are thrilling, engaging, or just plain delightful stories that aren’t getting the visibility they deserve.

This is because it can be very hard to stand out, especially for indie authors who may not have the budget, the know-how, or the platform to promote their books.

So to help these books stand out, I created the Discovery List—it’s “every self-published book worth reading” in one big spreadsheet.

 

Tim’s blog is a good one to follow for writers, so naturally, I’m a subscriber. And I was pleasantly surprised when I visited his blog this week, to find a feature for my beloved book – Twenty Years: After “I do”, so I’m thrilled to reblog it here today too.

Learn more about Tim
Timothy Pike
..

The Discovery List is off to a great start, and I’m finding solid gold already!

I’ve made it my quest to find every self-published book worth reading, and to do this, I created a spreadsheet that we as a community can add to.

It’s called the Discovery List, and whether you happened across a great self-published book or wrote one, we want to hear about it.

 

“How to keep a marriage happy and unbreakable”: This five-star memoir reveals the secrets.”

 

I love featuring books that got great reviews, so without further ado, here’s this week’s best self-published book:

Twenty Years: After “I Do”
Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging
by D.G. Kaye

 

Twenty Years by D.G. Kaye

Check this book out on Amazon!

 

Review: Lauren Scott at Baydreamer gives it 5 stars, and raves:

D.G. Kaye’s memoir, Twenty Years After “I Do” piqued my interest for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been married for thirty-one years to a man who is not only my loving husband but who is my very best friend. I wanted to read what the author had to say on the subject, and she certainly inserted many pearls of wisdom of which I agreed with.

Debby offers snippets of insight from her own experiences on how to keep a marriage happy and unbreakable. She adds how humor can lighten any heavy situation and intimately writes of how sex ultimately changes from dating to married life. Most importantly though, she conveys that love has no timeline. Couples should enjoy each moment together and unconditional love will carry them through the difficult times. I was moved by this lovely collection of stories from Debby’s marriage to Gordon, and how she met true love when she least expected. An enjoyable read and one I highly recommend! Read the whole review

 

..

 

You can pick up a copy of Twenty Years on Amazon, and connect with the author on her blog, D.G. Kaye, Writer.

With your help, together we can find every self-published book worth reading and make the Discovery List a one-stop shop for excellent indie books.

If your book isn’t on the List yet, add it today!

 

Well, it was certainly uplifting to find my book featured on Tim’s blog, and thrilled to share it here today. I hope you writing friends and readers here will help contribute to Tim’s ‘Discovery List‘ so we can share with the world some of the books we’ve enjoyed and help readers to discover them by sharing our reviews there. We need 100 reviews to begin the publication spreadsheet! Don’t forget – you can share a review you’ve written for any book, and if you’re an author, you can share your own books there with a favorite review! See you there!

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Canadian Author, Allan Hudson

Welcome to my Q & A. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring a fellow Canadian, friend and author – Allan Hudson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Allan’s writing, he’s a multi-genred author, and I’m currently reading one of his short story books – A Box of Memories, which offers a variety of themed stories from fiction to the odd sci-fi, with one common thread – Allan is a wonderful writer of description. His characters are are richly descript, and take you right into the moment. Allan also hosts his blog – the Southbranch Scribbler, and features author promotion interviews too!

 

Today I have a double feature with Allan’s Book 1 of his Detective Jo Naylor series (female protagonist) – Shattered Figurine, a murder, mystery, adventure. And Allan has recently launched Book 2 in the series – Shattered Lives, and he’s sharing excerpts of both his books here today along with a bit about himself in our Q & A portion.

 

Allan Hudson

 

About Allan:

Allan Hudson was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Growing up in South Branch he was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a school teacher. He lives in Cocagne with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses the many experiences as ideas for his writing. When not at the keyboard, he continues to enjoy woodworking, glass work and furniture restoration. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers: In the Abyss – received honourable mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published on commuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog – South BranchScribbler.
www.southbranchscribbler.ca

 

 

Blurb:

Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong.

 

Excerpt for Shattered Figurine

 

This regrettable murder left no doubt in Jo’s mind that the killer is the same person, based on the method of execution. Forensics had confirmed as much with the second body. That murder had brought forth the criminal psychologists to create a profile that would tell them what type of individual might commit such a crime. The scene before her is, therefore, extremely important, so she stands well away. She is still able to discern an unusual shape upon the victim’s forehead, which, once uncovered from its icy envelope, will likely prove to be a piece of broken crystal similar to those found in the same spot on the pale dead skin of the two other bodies.

Jo is standing at the edge of a wide field shadowed by alders and tall spruces that front the extended forest behind her. The rising sun is just cresting the pointed tops. The body is lying parallel to the tree line at the rim of the pasture. It’s early December. The night fog turned solid as the temperature dropped below freezing, cloaking everything in stark white.Jo is startled from her contemplation of the scene by the sensation that someone is watching her. She turns toward the open field, scanning the perimeter of the woods. Nothing moves; not even a breeze disturbs the black-and-white scene. A rise in the field blocks her view to the road and her car, but she would have heard a vehicle approach. The silence is intense, nature seeming to mourn the young girl’s death. Jo would definitely hear the crunching of frost under someone’s boots.

 

Review for Shattered Figurine by author Anita Dawes.

The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.

The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.

Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.

 

I hope that whet your appetites. Now, let’s get to know more about Allan!

 

 

“Thank you so much Debby.”

 

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill intoyour book characters?

I’ve never felt any of my own personal traits would be of interest to my readers as I live a sedate life and I love writing action and adventure stories. My stories, perhaps, reflect how I might like to see myself, a hero, fearless, not afraid of what might be around the corner. Bold enough to take that first step into the unknown. I’m normally cautious about such things but not my adventure characters. They take all the chances at what needs to be done.

I do, however, use characteristics from people I know, their goodness, their kindness, their mannerisms, their good looks or sex appeal. And no, I’m not naming any names.

Personal experience on the other hand is something I rely on. I’ve always considered it to be much easier to embellish a couple of paragraphs or sentences or a full page with something I, or an acquaintance, may have encountered. An example is in two of my short stories of young boys, I myself had a wagon and used it to collect returnables on the side of the road when I was young and was the basis for the beginning of the story. In the second story, I did accidently start
a fire which got out of control one time. In another, a camping trip with two friends is based loosely on a similar outing with my brothers-in-law. It’s much easier.

D.G. – I love that you also add characters who do things you’d aspire to do. And I have to say, when I read the wagon stories, I thought to myself, hmm, did Allan do this? Lol. 🙂

 

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

I absolutely love the concept of self-publishing. When I wrote my first story, I did so with zero knowledge of what came next. This was at a time that self-publishing began to find its rightful place in the printing business and was no longer being regarded as vanity publishing. Here I was with my story, gone over a dozen times, rewritten and still wondering what it needed. I started searching on the internet. Please bear in mind that I was fifty-six years old when I started writing. Although, looking back now, it’s not old but I was wondering would I have enough time to write all the stories I wanted to.

I love books and I ached to hold one of my own in my hands. Writing was (and still is) a tremendous hobby.

There was so much information available and as a naive writer, I was drawn at the websites that offered to publish my book. But it was for a hefty fee of course, with no promises. I read comments of rejection slips, waiting for months to hear back from agents or publishers and if anything was accepted it would be months, maybe a year or more before my story would see print. My head was spinning. Then someone directed me to self-publishing. Wow. What a concept.

I knew immediately, this was how I would go forward. I followed wise advice to hire professionals for editing, covers and formatting. Yes, I had to bear the expense but it was worth it. I didn’t have to wait. There are multiple, free platforms to market your books. Get a website, tell everyone you can.

What a ride it has been and I’ve never looked back. I don’t think there is anything a traditional publisher can offer me that I don’t already have.

D.G. – My story was similar to yours Allan, so I knew it was my job to learn the biz too to get my books out. Look at us pioneers! 🙂

 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I remember an assignment in high school where we had to write a story in English class. I don’t recall the story or how well I did but I do remember how much I enjoyed doing it. The English teacher chose my story to read to the class and offered suggestions to make it better. The urge to write has always been there. I was taught to read at a very young age by my mother who was a school teacher. I imagined telling stories must be so gratifying.

As a young adult, I attended a creative writing class and once more, the instructor used one of my stories to be read to the class. I felt I was onto something with her encouragement but never seemed to have the time to write. Moving forward to my early fifties, I discovered author Bryce Courtenay and fell in love with his novels. Reading his biography, I found out he only started writing in his fifties and I sent him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed his work and I was considering writing something. I expect it was one of his assistants who replied but nonetheless, it was a letter of encouragement and tips. I haven’t looked back since.

D.G. – Isn’t it funny that the slightest bit of encouragement can lift and propel us to go after what we want. And know you are not alone. I know many of us in our community didn’t begin serious writing and publishing til that 50 mark!

 

What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?

The most rewarding discovery in the beginning of my blog, and it remains the same, is meeting like-minded authors. Such as yourself, Debby. Offering their fellow writers an opportunity to share their dreams and writing with a new audience. The encouragement is fantastic. Many of us are in the same situation, blogging, meeting bloggers, introducing creative minds to our followers. It’s the best way to reach out to new readers. By offering the same vehicle to other authors, searching for new platforms. I’ve meet so many great writers struggling to get their stories to market. I’ve read much of their work. Different genres, different voices. I’m a firm believer that we learn to write by reading as much as possible.

As an author, there is nothing better than learning to blog, in my opinion. It opens so many doors.

D.G. – I couldn’t agree with you more Allan. And thank you for the compliment. 🙂 And very true how we always learn from reading more books!

 

If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?

I think it would be a thrill of a lifetime to have a novel adapted for the big screen. To see your name in the credits and the title of your book that inspired the drama.

I would choose my second novel, Wall of War. It was so much fun to write. Before I started writing, a story set in Peru, a discovery on Incan gold, floated in my mind continuously. It was the story I wanted to write at first but I didn’t. Here’s the silly reason why. I began to outline the story just as Clive Cussler’s story Inca Gold became known to me. It was published in 1994 but I only discovered it in 2013 when I started to write. I hadn’t read it but the idea that a famous author wrote about Inca gold and I wanted to write a story on the same subject matter, I changed direction, worried that people might think I plagiarized the story. Dumb, of course. I read Cussler’s novel and it was nothing like the story I wanted to tell. Just a naïve beginner’s fear.

I am fascinated by the Inca, their stonework, their working of metals, so sophisticated and precise. Wall of War starts with a startling discovery which lies dormant for fifty years. When the secret is re-discovered, trouble begins. An accidental death causes one of my characters to flee with enemies in hot pursuit for the gold. He reaches out to a man he grew up with but not related to. Drake Alexander goes on the hunt for his friend. It takes place in Peru, through the Sacred Valley, in Cuzco and near Machu Pichu. Rock climbers. Despicable enemies. It has all the ingredients for a suspenseful and entertaining movie.

D.G. – That does sound fascinating Allan. And goes to show that we shouldn’t be afraid to explore our passions because, other than plagiarism, each writer has their own unique voice and style of expressing a story that may have been told 1000 times. 🙂

 

Now for our Double Feature with Allan’s New Release!

 

Since the time of the booking of this interview with Allan, he has recently released Book 2 – Shattered Lives, so I’m happy to feature the book and blurb here today.

 

 

Blurb:

Jo Naylor is on the run. Wanted back in Canada for questioning regarding her father’s suicide. She has no intention of returning. With a new identity, she takes up temporary residence in a foreign country. She may not be a detective any longer but once a cop, always a cop. A distraught woman pleads with Naylor to find her daughter. Should she help? She doesn’t know anyone in Thailand, doesn’t know the geography but that doesn’t stop Naylor from sticking her nose where it shouldn’t be. Naylor and her new sidekick, an orphaned girl, join up with a local PI. There’s more than a missing child at stake.

 

First Review:

Top review from the United States

by MJ LaBeff

Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2021

 

Excerpt from Shattered Lives.

 

Coming out of the bank, a little girl scampers from the front window she’s obviously been staring into. Stopping at the end of the mall ten storefronts away, she disappears. But she soon peeks around the wall at Jo by furtively moving one eye and a few dirty strands of hair. Jo’s skin flushes with a pang of sympathy for her.

Jo remembers when she first saw her. She was going through the dumpster beside a restaurant and was shooed away by one of the staff. Jo followed her to find her huddled inside an abandoned and damaged cement pipe jumbled with others at a construction yard. Crawling through a fence in the back, Jo approached the ruins and singled out the girl’s dwelling among the other populated forgotten structures. The main theme was casual cardboard. The smell was the worse, something between urine and unwashed bodies. When Jo moved the ragged curtain open, the girl shinnied to the back, eyes displaying fear. Kneeling at the entrance, Jo’s smile brightened up the dim space. She talked patiently with soothing words to the girl but got no response. Jo figured she didn’t understand English. Beckoning for the girl to follow, Jo’s soft smile spoke of comfort. She led her back to the same restaurant, motioning for her to wait on a bench outside the door. She purchased a boxed meal and presented it to the little girl. Jo sat on one end of the bench watching the little girl wolf down the meal. She then wrapped the paper and cardboard together and placed it in a bin. Bowing, the first slight smile graced the girl’s lips. Then she turned and ran.

 

Thanks to Allan for coming over today and sharing a bit about himself and his books. I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know about Allan and will check out his books!

 

Look for Allan on Social Sites:

 

www.southbranchscribbler.com

Allan Hudson Author | Facebook

Allan Hudson (@hudson_allan) / Twitter

 

©DGKaye2021

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